UPDATE: DCBA investigation leads to five-year prison sentence for fake immigration attorney

Updated Feb. 23, 2017

Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, owner and operator of immigration services business Coalicion Latinoamericana Internacional (CLI), was sentenced to prison for five years and two months for defrauding immigrants. Cabrera pleaded guilty to three felony counts (grand theft, attempted perjury, and conspiracy to violate the California Immigration Consultants Act).

Cabrera’s wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas, pleaded guilty to one felony count (conspiracy to violate the Immigration Consultants Act) and was sentenced to three years of formal probation with an 18-month suspended custody providing she complies with the probation terms. This forbids her from working or assisting others who work in immigration services.

If you paid Mr. Cabrera or CLI for immigration services and think you might be a victim of fraud, please contact us at (323) 881-7099.

For more details, see our press release.

Original post from Dec. 8, 2016

An investigation by the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs, in partnership with the office of the California Attorney General and other agencies, has resulted in felony charges against the owner of a Los Angeles-based business for defrauding immigrants.

Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, owner and operator of a business known as the Coalicion Latinoamericana Internacional (CLI) is charged by the Attorney General with 22 counts of grand theft, attempted grand theft, attempted perjury, and conspiracy to engage in the unlawful practice of law. Charges have also been filed against his wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas.

If you received immigration assistance from Cabrera or CLI and think you might be a victim of this fraudulent scheme, please contact the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (323) 881-7099.

The arrest warrant affidavit alleges that Cabrera, who is not licensed as an attorney in California, often posed as an attorney and provided legal consultations and services, charging up to $9,000. Despite lacking accreditation or a license to practice law, he posed as an immigration lawyer and expert with a proven record of helping immigrants on major media platforms in both mainstream and Spanish-language media. The defendant used his prominent profile to solicit customers who he then duped.

Cabrera repeatedly misled his victims about the status of their cases, misinformed them about their eligibility for immigration relief, and completed immigration forms improperly while continuing to collect victims’ money. Cabrera also ignored or lied to victims in an attempt to avoid giving refunds, sometimes for thousands of dollars, while denying any wrongdoing. In some instances, Cabrera’s handling of immigration cases had irreparable consequences, leading to the deportation of victims’ family members.

The arrest warrant affidavit also alleges that Cabrera provided immigration consulting services without having completed the necessary registration with the California Secretary of State, and that he and his wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas, conspired to violate the Immigration Consultants Act.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Fraud Detection and National Security also assisted with the investigation.

For more details, check the Attorney General’s press release.